Indian American brothers Arvind and Sanjay Seshan, of Fox Chapel, Pa., have qualified for the FIRST LEGO League World Festival Tournament.
The global tournament pared 29,000 teams of kids ages 9 to 16 in qualifying competitions to just 108 finalists.
FIRST LEGO League is a robotics-oriented STEM program operating in 80 countries.
The Olympic-style event will pit participants against each other in a theme-based challenge to design and program a Lego robot, conduct a research study and find success through teamwork.
The theme that Arvind, 11, and Sanjay, 13, hope to come out victorious is “Trash Trek,” which focuses on recycling.
The Pittsburgh-area boys are homeschooled by their mother Asha. They built their robot to compost garbage, search a landfill and spill trash into a dumpster.
The boys – who qualified for the event after winning at the Western Pennsylvania Championship regional Jan. 9 – will sport black-and-gold shirts with their team name, Not the Droids You Are Looking For, to go with their trademark black top hats at the tournament.
At the state-level tournament, they won three separate categories – the overall championship, robot performance and Global Innovation Award nominee. The overall championship earned their spot at the World Tournament. Separately, the top 20 teams at the Global Innovation Award event will be selected, with the winner receiving $20,000 and a chance to develop a prototype of a design.
The young boys devote a minimum of 10 hours a week to improving their robot. They hope their practice and hard work pays off at the World Tournament, but are happy just spreading the word and making a difference in the robotics and computer science world.
Toward that, the boys started an educational website, EV3Lessons.com, which they claim 40,000 people from roughly 120 countries have used to learn to program Lego robots.
"We have been doing robotics for the last five years," Sanjay told India-West in an email. "We hope to inspire and encourage other children to participate in robotics too."
Added Arvind, "When we teach other people and they are able to do more because of us, we feel really happy."
The FIRST LEGO League World Festival Tournament is scheduled for April 27 through April 30 in St. Louis, Mo.